WACO, Texas — The last four times Kansas State went on the road, it lost.
Saturday at Baylor, nothing changed.
Just like the Wildcats (17-8, 7-5 Big 12) lost their last three road games, crumbling down the stretch in clutch moments, it was more of the same against the Bears.
K-State opened the second half by quickly spoiling a nine-point halftime lead, and then got ahead by 10 before allowing Baylor to claw its way back.
Even after Baylor (16-9, 4-8) tied the game at 51 with 5:09 to play, the Wildcats quickly produced a 5-0 run to lead by five with 4:11 left. But they scored one point the rest of the way.
That lone point would come with Marcus Foster at the free-throw line with 23 seconds left. He went to the line with a chance to put K-State ahead by four. He made the first and missed the second.
After Baylor missed a shot at the other end, the ball bounced around and into the hands of center Isaiah Austin, who found sharpshooter Brady Heslip for a 3-pointer. It was Heslip’s only made 3 in eight tries.
Foster would go to the line with 35 seconds left in the first overtime period, and a chance to put K-State ahead two if he made both. But he again made 1 of 2.
“This definitely hurts me a little bit,” Foster said. “I had two chances to put the game away. Just have to keep getting better. Can’t get down about this.”
The game quickly got away from K-State in the second overtime, as Baylor opened with a bank-shot 3 from Taurean Prince that opened a 7-0 run to put the Bears up 75-68.
After a 3-pointer from Will Spradling cut the lead to four points, Baylor scored eight straight and the Wildcats couldn’t recover.
“I think it’s getting really old,” said K-State forward Nino Williams, who led K-State with 20 points. “We’ve been in position to win the last four road games and I think last year around this time we were winning these games. I think this year we’re losing them. (Last year) we’re down one with a minute to go, Rod (McGruder) hit his shot. We’re at West Virginia last year, Shane (Southwell) makes his block.
“I think it’s the same type of game. I think we’re young, I think like coach said, we’re immature sometimes — our youth and play down the stretch needs to get better.”
Even though their were similarities to K-State’s previous three road losses, having a chance to win late and not getting it done each time, head coach Bruce Weber couldn’t help but see this one a little bit differently.
“I don’t include this in the other losses,” he said. “We were there, we did everything we need to win. Those other three games we didn’t do what we need to win. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
Armed with a nine-point lead to open the second half, the Wildcats let Baylor score eight quick points to cut the lead to one. Most of those points came off mistakes by K-State.
Weber said he thought his team came out casual in the first five minutes of the second half, and it resulted in a trimmed-down 37-32 lead with less than 15 minutes to play.
Leading 43-38 with 10:36 left, Williams would make a layup and add a free throw, and then charged to the basket and made another and-one layup. Williams would miss the free throw, but Foster nailed a 3 on the next K-State possession to make it 51-41 with 8:47 to play. Once again, Baylor had an answer, needing just three minutes to go on a 10-0 run and tie the game.
Both teams got off to slow starts from the floor in the first half, with the Wildcats making just four of their first 14 to take an 8-6 lead with 12:28 to play. K-State broke away from a 10-10 tie with a 6-0 run, including two baskets from DJ Johnson and a jumper from Williams, putting the Wildcats ahead 16-10 with 7:49 to play.
Baylor pulled back within three with a 3 from Royce O’Neale, but K-State answered with a 3 from Foster and another basket from Williams.
After Kenny Cherry cut the lead to five with a 3, the Wildcats went on a 7-2 run led by another 3 from Foster and a pair of buckets on the inside from Williams and Thomas Gipson. K-State led 30-21 at halftime.
“We had opportunities in the first half to extend the lead but we didn’t,” Weber said. “We missed some open shots. We told them they were a wounded animal, they’ve got their backs to the wall — they’re going to come out and battle you.”
Williams scored his career-high 20 in just his second start of the season, filling in for the injured Shane Southwell. Foster finished with 18 points and a career-high 10 assists for his first-career double-double.
Both were outshined by Cherry, who had 20 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to register the sixth triple-double in Baylor history and the 14th in Big 12 history.
K-State also struggled to deal with Baylor’s size, as Cory Jefferson had 21 points and Austin scored 18. The Wildcats were outrebounded 54-40.
The Wildcats return to Manhattan on Wednesday for a game with TCU at 8 p.m. in Bramlage Coliseum.